Eleven screens, some with a lengthy tradition, make the Spanish capital the country´s leading original version cinema venue

A total of eleven cinemas offer audiences films in their original version, extending the city´s cultural options, and making Madrid a mecca for many film buffs. Despite their difficult beginnings, these cinemas have managed to win themselves an audience through the variety and quality of their programming. One, the Renoir cinema, this year celebrated its twentieth anniversary.

Bellas Artes Cine-Estudio, Cines Golem, La Enana Marrón, Pequeño Cine Estudio, Princesa, Renoir Cuatro Caminos, Renoir Plaza de España, Renoir Princesa, Renoir Retiro, Verdi and Yelmo Cineplex Ideal are the original version cinemas operating in Madrid. Although they are scattered around the city, many are in the centre, alongside traditional cinemas and in the main shopping areas.

The districts around the Plaza de España and the Plaza de los Cubos have most of the O.V. cinemas. It is here that you will find the Princesa, Renoir Plaza de España, Renoir Princesa and Alphaville. The latter, Alphaville, opened on 26 November 1977, making it Madrid's oldest original version cinema, and the first multi-screen venue. It also pioneered programme sheets, filmgoers' day and late-night sessions.

A Clearly Defined Audience

Although cinemas showing films in their original version enjoy an increasingly wide audience, the most regular cinema-goers are aged between 18 and 30. True film enthusiasts, they prefer to see the work in its original language, feeling that by hearing the voices of the performers themselves they get a better grasp of what the director wanted to express in the production, and a greater insight into the work of both scriptwriters and actors. This group also includes many young people who are learning a foreign language, or who already speak one, and who find in O.V. films the chance to improve their skills.

A cinemaAnother major sector of the audience is made up of people from other cities in Spain who take the chance while in Madrid for the weekend to catch an original version film which they cannot see in their home town. In fact, Barcelona, Bilbao, Valencia, Tenerife, Palma de Mallorca and Zaragoza are the only provincial capitals which have this type of cinema, although Madrid has far more screens. Other O.V. adepts include foreign residents and tourists, who are able in Madrid to see films from their country of origin in their own language.

Another of the advantages offered by these cinemas, for both Madrid locals and tourists, is that they offer the chance to see films which have long since disappeared from the "now showing" list. A good example of this would be the film Black Cat, White Cat, by Bosnian director Emir Kusturica, which was screened at the Cines Ideal from 1999 to 2005.

Variety, Quality and Cultural Promotion

Although over recent years original version cinemas have begun to feature some of the big box office successes from Spain and overseas, their main attraction is that they show alternative cinema which is difficult to find in traditional venues focusing more on commercial releases, but which have enjoyed success at major film festivals. They also show documentaries and shorts, such as at the Cine Estudio del Círculo de Bellas Artes, which on the first Thursday of each month screens films in the SGAE programme En Corto.

Another draw of such cinemas is that they help promote Spanish cinema by featuring a large number of home-grown works. This also applies to Latin American cinema, increasingly visible on the big screen in Spain and Europe, predominantly in original version cinemas.

This variety is further increased by the general and specific seasons and conferences, organised by O.V. cinemas, presenting enthusiasts with the latest from the world of cinema. These events also serve to bring the general public into closer contact with renowned directors and actors, while furthermore helping to promote up-and-coming names.

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